The golden latte – and the reason for its divine and lofty name
We take a closer look at the surprising health benefits of turmeric and share a golden latte recipe you can make at home.
Surely by now you’ve heard of the elusive golden latte, which, of course, gets its lofty name from its vibrant colour. But the warm beverage packed with antioxidants has long been the drink of choice for many in India. I’m hanging my head in shame as I write this, remembering turning up my nose, unaware of my Indian mom’s genius when I was growing up, as she’d often try to cure just about anything with a dash of turmeric (if it wasn’t “gargle with salt water” in our household, it was warm milk made bitter by spices, which included the bright yellow powder).
The Western world has only in recent years discovered turmeric as a superfood, however. We take a closer look at the origin of the warm beverage, the surprising health benefits of turmeric and share a golden latte recipe you can make at home.
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The origins of the golden latte: haldi doodh
Haldi doodh (turmeric milk in Hindi) is made with warmed milk and turmeric root; though you’re likely more familiar with the ground spice that comes from the flowering plant Curcuma longa, which is native to India and a relative of the ginger family. It’s no wonder then that, in cooking, it’s mostly a background flavour and often used to give particular dishes their vibrant colour. If you pay close attention, though, you’ll note turmeric’s sharp, bitter and pungent notes.
To make haldi doodh, one would often combine the turmeric and milk with other similarly strong spices as well as a sweetener, much like you would a golden latte. It’s often consumed to relieve and remedy particular ailments.
In BBC Travel, Charukesi Ramadurai of India’s firm belief in turmeric’s healing benefits, saying: “From applying a turmeric paste over sprained ankles to sniffing a smoked rhizome clump to ward off a cold, many Indians use turmeric as a home remedy, and it has been used in the traditional medical system of Ayurveda for centuries.”
The surprisingly health benefits of turmeric
Now, while we don’t know about turmeric per se in healing sprained ankles, we did speak to Cape Town-based dietician Ghumayrah Aziz about it’s healing properties.
Aziz confirms: “Curcumin is the primary active compound in turmeric and it does contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which aid in conditions such as metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety and high cholesterol levels.
“Pain relief is another benefit in cases such as osteoarthritis. Studies have shown beneficial outcomes in exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness by enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people.”
She adds, however, to steer clear of turmeric supplements, because “as beneficial as turmeric can be, more curcumin is not necessarily better and too much can be risky”.
“It’s important to note that even though it might offer numerous potential benefits, there is a need for more research to fully understand the effects on human health.”
She says: “It’s important to consult with a health care professional before using turmeric as a therapeutic agent, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or taking chronic medication.”
A golden latte recipe to try at home
“Adding the spice to your meals or drinks is the safest way to consume it,” says Aziz, offering a pro tip to enhancing the potential health benefits when using turmeric in your cooking: “Evidence suggests better absorption when consumed with black pepper.”
Taking Aziz’s recommendation into account, we tried and tested a golden latte recipe for you to make at home with all the goodness – and none of the nose turning.
1 cup milk
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp ginger powder
Pinch of ground black pepper
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp honey
Boil the milk in a saucepan on the stove, whisking away. Once it’s frothy and after it’s started to boil, add all your spices, along with your vanilla essence and honey. Pour into a cup and enjoy.
Have you tried to make your own turmeric latte? Let us know what you think in the comments below!